Thursday 25 June 2020
Yesterday evening’s releases of the legendary Thienpont wines L’If and Le Pin rings the bell for the end of what has been an unusually fast en primeur season. It is a recent tradition that these wines mark the end of the campaign. Galloni calls L’If ‘a drop-dead gorgeous beauty', 'a wine of pure and total sophistication'. If you think you are due an allocation of these – sit tight, we’ll be in touch! It has been a great campaign, fast, furious and exciting. Thank you for reading, and if you have found it all half as exciting and engaging as we have, then it has been time well spent.
Wednesday 24 June 2020
Back down to earth today with the release of Serilhan, a great little Cru Bourgeois Superieur in St-Estephe. 'The 2019 Serilhan, attired in a very chic blue label now, conveys real quality on the nose with well defined blackberry, cedar and sous-bois aromas that seem very pure and nuanced. The palate is ripe and succulent on the entry, yet there are genuinely very fine tannins here, lending this Saint-Estephe a silky texture a la 2016 and a persistent, gratifying finish. Bon vin! 92-94 points' - Neal Martin
Tuesday 23 June 2020
Today we have the release of the Wertheimer (of Chanel) family's three chateaux - Rauzan-Segla, Canon and Berliquet, (property developer) Patrice Pichet's Carmes Haut-Brion, and the Thienponts' second most legendary Pomerol, Vieux Chateau Certan. These are some of the hottest properties of the past few vintages but we have good, longstanding allocations and hope to be able to satisfy regular customers.
Monday 22 June 2020
This morning we have one of the potential wines of the vintage. It was their legendary 1982 that transformed the fortunes of Pichon Lalande but Neal Martin reckons the 2019 is 'even better and more profound'. This has got to be the greatest buy in Pauillac this year.
Then Troplong Mondot, which sits atop the St-Emilion plateau. The estate is run by Aymeric de Gironde who arrived from Cos d'Estournel in 2018, with Thomas Duclos (who also advises Canon) as consultant. Together, they've really reined in the style and Troplong today is a far cry from the big, extracted wines of a decade ago.
Friday 19 June 2020
Late latest news today. The Delon family occupied most of the morning - as well as the legend that is Leoville-Las Cases we had Petit Lion du Marquis de Las Cases (its second wine), Clos du Marquis (their other St-Julien), Potensac (northern Medoc) and Nenin (Pomerol). All are currently available albeit in small quantities.
On the right bank, we had L'Eglise-Clinet, the final vintage of the late, great Denis Durantou who died last month. Understandably, it's much in demand and very short in supply. It's allocated to regular buyers in the first place.
Amid such company, St-Emilion's La Dominique is in danger of being overlooked despite heaps of praise from the critics. Then Haut-Bailly which, with a Neal Martin score equal to Haut-Brion's, is arousing a lot of interest this year. Finally, two outstanding St-Emilions - Pavie Macquin and Larcis Ducasse, both scored 95-97 by Neal Martin.
Bordeaux now seems to have headed to the beach. We'll have to wait till Monday to tie up loose ends.
Thursday 18 June 2020
First releases today were those of the debonair Comte Stephan van Neipperg - d'Aiguilhe from Castillon and the St-Emilion trio of Clos de l'Oratoire, Canon-la-Gaffeliere and La Mondotte. Then three high-scoring and heavily oversubscribed ones - Clinet, Margaux and Ducru-Beaucaillou - which are currently allocated to previous buyers.
After lunch two long-time favourites from Margaux. Siran is described as 'seriously good' by Neal Martin. I'll add 'value' on to that. Brane Cantenac is scarcer than usual: Henri Lurton has restricted it to only the most privileged plots on the 'plateau de Brane' to make 'one of the top vintages of [his] life.' Negociants reported having 40% less stock so you'll have to be quick...
Wednesday 17 June 2020
Difficult keeping up this morning. Apologies if you've wishlisted or you're a regular buyer of the day's most popular releases - we're focussing on the buying first and then we'll be in touch.
We now have good stocks of the morning's highlight, Leoville-Barton. An outstanding vintage here but don't overlook its sister chateau, Langoa. It's not far off the quality of Leoville but little more than half the price.
Then over to the right bank for the value Pomerol, Rouget, and then to St-Emilion for arguably the greatest terroir in all of Bordeaux: Ausone. Our allocation is tiny but we also have a couple of cases of Chapelle, the second wine.
Then back across the Gironde to Margaux, for Durfort-Vivens. There was very little of this biodynamic wine made last year but we didn't want to miss Gonzague Lurton's 2019 - the stock is booked. Heading north, we have Meyney - the value St-Estephe that's good at fooling blind tasters into thinking it's Montrose - and Pichon-Baron.
This afternoon, the Perrodo family's great value Margaux pair of Labegorce and Marquis d'Alesme, and then the Nony family's Grand Mayne, which has seen a big improvement in quality since starting to work with Louis Mitjavile of Tertre Roteboeuf in 2014 and is now one of the best buys in St-Emilion.
Tuesday 16 June 2020
The big news today is the release of Neal Martin's scores on Vinous.com.
After yesterday's Talbot, two more large St-Julien estates: Gruaud Larose and the highly scored and well priced Lagrange.
In Pomerol, we have Jeremy Chasseuil's excellent Feytit-Clinet - the Pomerol we most often buy for ourselves - and (a new addition to the list) Beauregard, which has come on enormously since it was bought by a partnership between the Moulin family who own Galeries Lafayette and the Cathiard family of Smith-Haut-Lafitte.
Then back to St-Julien for its smallest classed growth, Saint-Pierre, and its sister chateau, Gloria.
We now have the hotly anticipated Grand-Puy-Lacoste, well priced and 'quintessential Pauillac' in the words of Neal Martin.
Monday 15 June 2020
The morning started in Pessac with the release of Pape-Clement. Then Lafon-Rochet, always well priced and a favourite for us in St-Estephe.
Then Conseillante and Figeac, which look set to be among the highest scoring wines on the right bank this year. Overnight, Lisa Perrotti-Brown's review of Figeac was published on robertparker.com: 'This is a simply stunning, seemingly effortless, beautifully harmonious expression of the vineyard and the vintage - bravo!', 98-100 points.
This afternoon came Talbot. This large St-Julien estate, one of the biggest single blocks of vines on the left bank, is now under the control of Jean-Michel Laporte, formerly of La Conseillante. It consistently makes delicious wines which rightly have a loyal following. Then to Margaux for third growth d'Issan, one of the more powerful wines of the appellation and - by all accounts - one of their better wines in recent times.
Friday 12 June 2020
The day starts in Margaux. Thomas Duclos, who also consults at Canon and Troplong Mondot among others, was brought in for the 2019 vintage at Giscours. This looks like it might be one the chateau's better wines in recent years and, with a 23% reduction (in sterling terms) on last year, it should prove popular.
Then the brilliant value wines of the late Denis Durantou. Feted for his flagship L'Eglise-Clinet, which he took from relative obscurity in Pomerol to first division, it was his work in Lalande-de-Pomerol (Cruzelles) and Castillon (Montlandrie) which show his true genius, and which are rightly regarded as some of the best value wines in all of Bordeaux.
Thursday 11 June 2020
Haut-Brion and stablemates this morning, so no surprise to see Lisa Perrotti-Brown's review just published on robertparker.com, and a score of 97-99+: 'I wouldn't be at all surprised if it... eventually takes top place for the vintage'.
This afternoon, Calon-Segur but as usual it's in very short supply and is all allocated to regular buyers. We do have good stocks of the second wine, Marquis de Calon, as well as their excellent value Capbern.
Wednesday 10 June 2020
This morning started with releases from the Vauthier family in St-Emilion (Fonbel, Moulin St-Georges, La Clotte) and the Cazes family in Pauillac (Lynch-Bages, Haut-Batailley, Ormes de Pez). We have less Lynch-Bages to sell than last year and will be offering it to regular customers in the first place. Then back to St-Emilion for Pavie from Vignobles Perse.
From Leognan, we have Malartic-Lagraviere, transformed in recent years and attractively priced in 2019.
This afternoon we have the Kressmann family's Latour-Martillac. With a very attractive pricing policy this usually sells out en primeur. 2019 is the first vintage to be vinified and aged in the new chai and one source says this is their best vintage to date.
Tuesday 9 June 2020
Today we have the Baron Philippe de Rothschild wines, which coincide with the publication of a potentially perfect score for Mouton on robertparker.com.
Professor Colin Hay, Professor of Political Science at Sciences Po in Paris, has just published his profile of the vintage and market conditions, and it's well worth a read - click here. 'What is clear, for me at least, is that it richly deserves a place in the pantheon of the greats, continuing the post-millennial sequence: 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2018... 2019.' Yet Professor Hay suggests that market conditions are more inauspicious than they have ever been and that even 30% price cuts may not be enough to counter weak demand associated with the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
Monday 8 June 2020
A busy day for Bordeaux 2019 releases. It seems there's a desire to get the campaign done quickly, and with more first growths expected this week, we anticipate most of the action happening this week and next.
Branaire-Ducru captured the spirit of the campaign with a 25% reduction in price from last year, its lowest release price since the 2014 making it a very attractive buy in St-Julien. Across the road, Beychevelle, which has acquired a momentum all its own these past few years, had a much smaller decrease. There are better priced wines in St-Julien but improvements in recent years mean that it can hold its own against some of the best.
The big pricing surprise of the morning came from St-Emilion's Cheval Blanc, where Pierre Lurton has battled price rises in recent years - and lost. The 2019 is nearly a third cheaper in sterling terms than its predecessor and has consequently seen strong demand. Quinault L'Enclos, under the same ownership and winemaking team, has made significant progress over the past decade - a glimpse of its sibling's style for a fraction of the price.
Angelus may be among the very best in St-Emilion but looks expensive in the context of the vintage. Gazin, one of Pomerol's largest estates, has struggled since the price increased with the 2016 vintage. This year's reduction - 16% in sterling terms - isn't enough to remedy that.
This afternoon, one of our favourites in St-Julien. Leoville-Poyferre, which this year celebrates 100 years' ownership by the Cuvelier family, worked last year so with a 25% price reduction, the 'hugely impressive' 2019 is selling fast.
Thursday 4 June 2020
The precedent set by Pontet-Canet last week seems to have gained traction. The quality is high, the prices are about right, and the wines are available. This doesn't happen often. Hopefully, peer pressure will keep the major chateaux releasing at more than 20% below last year's opening prices, especially as we anticipate the appearance of some of the biggest names next week.
This morning saw the release of two of our favourite chateaux. The Casteja family's Batailley has long been considered a dependable, old school Pauillac, savoury and muscular in style. And so it remains, but recent years have also seen it graced with more modern finesse. Last year's release price wasn't unreasonable but, with an 18% reduction from that, this is already proving to be a popular release.
Olivier Bernard has been lovingly tending Domaine de Chevalier since his family bought it in 1983. The 2019 red is defined by its freshness and depth. With the price down 24% from last year, this is going to be one of the best buys in Pessac-Leognan.
Tuesday 2 June 2020
Following the precedent set by Pontet-Canet last Thursday, this morning saw the release of Chateau Palmer at almost a third below the price of last year's. After the miniscule yields of 2018 - which resulted in none of the second wine being produced - the latest vintage produced a normal size crop of 'concentrated and aromatic' fruit, 'loaded with sugar'.
Thursday 28 May 2020
This morning saw the first major release of the 2019 Bordeaux campaign: over-achieving fifth-growth Pontet-Canet, which has often scored more highly than its next-door neighbour Mouton-Rothschild.
Not for the first time, the Tesserons have surprised the market. The release price is over 30% down on last year's. In fact, even before taking inflation into account, it's the lowest release price from the chateau since the 2008 over a decade ago.